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Diversity in YA Romance Books by Author, September North for the YASFF February Blog Hop!

Updated: Jan 30, 2022

Hello readers! Thank you for popping by my blog. I hope you are enjoying the YASDD Blog Hop for February!

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Adding in qualities that include a range of characteristics such as ethnicity and sexual orientation is usually what comes to mind when thinking about diversity in literature these days. Being inclusive means considering so much more than that.

I grew up poor. Like, welfare, food stamps, sometimes no lights kind of poor. I did a lot of reading because it allowed me to escape from my own reality. When school was in session, I could borrow books from the library. When school was not in session, I made up my own stories to get away from my reality.

YA authors are doing more than just representing the variety of skin tones or love interests. We are including socioeconomic diversity, mental health diversity, physical spectrums that include everything from diabetic characters to those without limbs and so much more. We are trying to reach that teen who doesn't have representation or only limited representation.

The idea that different does not mean worse or better could be the bridge between someone giving someone else a shot at being a friend. Might inspire a teen to view themselves with more acceptance and pride even if those around them are not. I know it would have helped if I had more than just S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders (a book I love) to relate to.

Lots of young romance was filled with upper-middle-class kids and I needed those books, too, so I am not knocking them. It was nice to see life through that lens. Different. Did not help me prepare a question, talk, or give me any ideas for how to navigate relationships and I did not have examples or guidance at home. (If you remember the other post from Christmas, you know I got a foster family at 17. Before that, I was navigating on my own a lot of the time.) Are authors responsible for raising teens? No. But books helped, so I try to make mine both entertaining as well as educational and mix a bit more real than some people are comfortable with, but alas, I was never comfortable as a teen, so why should my characters be or my readers for that matter? Plenty of those books out there.

I am sure you expected a list of great books you can find that have YA characters of different backgrounds, right? Well, that is what I would like, too. I want you to respond to this post and leave me a comment with the YA book that I need to read. I write diverse YA as September North. I am interested to see what else is out there beyond my current YA friends on social media. Who are you reading that is offering up this range of characters. I need more books like this in my life. If you've read some, share. If not, well, come back and check out this post so we can both find new reads to add to the TBR.

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